Cape Town - The National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Command Centre is receiving triple the amount of calls during the national lockdown and it is imperative that we support them, says Robyn Farrell, CEO of 1st for Women Insurance.
The insurance provider has donated headsets, hand sanitisers, masks, gloves and trauma debriefing services to all social workers and supervisors at the GBV Command Centre to reduce secondary traumatic stress and burnout.
"The National GBV Command Centre is receiving triple the amount of calls from women who are trapped with their abusive partners at home during the national lockdown. This massive surge in requests for help is going to have a knock-on effect on the social workers who are manning the Command Centre, and it is imperative that we equip and enable them as best we can to continue the essential work they are doing at this time,” said Farrell.
Globally, lockdowns are causing an increase in domestic violence and abuse. In Hubei province, domestic violence reports to police have more than tripled. Tunisia has reported a five-fold increase in violence against women. In Northern Ireland, there’s been a 20% increase of domestic abuse reports and in Paris, there been an increase of 32%. South Africa is not immune and recently, a 75-year-old woman was brutally raped and strangled by suspects posing as SANDF soldiers.
“The safety of women during lockdown is a considerable concern for us,” says Farrell. “Our business has been a long-term advocate in the fight against women abuse and we believe we can make a significant contribution by supporting the National Gender-Based Violence Command Centre in its efforts to help to those who need it. The social workers are having to deal with not only the sheer volume of calls, but also the horrific stories and requests for help. They are on the frontline when trying to assist women who are reporting abuse and need the necessary help and support to do this.”
Nomathemba Malvern, Deputy Director: VEP & GBV and GBV Command Centre Manager said: “The Department of Social Development and the Gender Based Violence Command Centre Management would like to express their sincere gratitude to 1st for Women for their great contribution towards the joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. It has gone a long way in ensuring that the GBV Command Centre working environment is conducive, healthy and safe for the employees."
Are you at risk of abuse or know someone who is? Report it: GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 or *120*786#
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*** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za